tv Beyond the Headlines ABC October 25, 2015 4:30pm-5:01pm PDT
>> i hope that the american people will engage with us as people. afghans and americans have enormous similarities. we are extraordinarily individualistic people. >> thanks for joining us. i'm cheryl jennings, reporting from kabul, afghanistan, with a one-on-one exclusive interview with the new president of this country. he met with a california-based nonprofit, which works with traders and farmers to make a profit. president ashraf ghani has several connections to the san francisco bay area. we talked about that, his tough new job, and the critical need for afghanistan and america to work together. >> what we're doing in afghanistan is enabling americans to lead secure lives.
and... >> the tragedy of the september 11, 2001, terrorist attacks brought america and afghanistan together. president ashraf ghani says common interests bind us to rebuild afghanistan's shattered economy to prevent additional unrest, and our culture will lead the way. the new president of this country met with a california-based nonprofit called roots of peace, and me to talk about this country's future. that private meeting took place in the presidential palace in kabul. president ghani told us he wants afghanistan to be come an exporting machine. >> we are an acquired taste, but once people get to know us, i think they won't forget us. [ chuckles ] >> he knows about the work done
by heidi and gary kuhn with their roots of peace nonprofit in afghanistan. it is linking more and more farmers to traders in international markets. the funding is from the u.s. agency for international development, known as usaid. >> a big word of thank-you to roots of peace and to other activists who believe that the afghan farmer is a source of prosperity and a source of stability. >> president ghani entrusted the kuhns with a plan he wrote on agriculture back in 2010. >> and we were sharing that with all the other organizations in the country because it's his blueprint for how to best step forward in agriculture. >> it was a great honor to meet president ghani, to discuss with him the importance of agribusiness. a country 80% dependent upon agriculture -- we need to take bold steps to lift this great country up so that future generations may live in peace. >> gary kuhn took a bold step and asked president ghani to become the face of the new roots of peace promotional campaign
for agriculture. he agreed, and within hours, a new poster was created for an international trade fair. president ghani also wants to foster entrepreneurship, and he's getting help with that from his close friend and advisor, dr. mo qayoumi, president of san jose state university. they were college roommates overseas. >> no, he's exceptional. he has an exceptional brain. >> dr. qayoumi was in kabul advising president ghani on rebuilding infrastructure. they're asking the silicon valley to join them. >> the spirit of, "even if you make a mistake, you can bounce back and learn from it" -- i think those are the aspects that chimes in with and connects well with the afghan culture. >> i just want to thank you for helping me. >> oh, my pleasure, and it's so great to have you have the first interview with, you know, a person that i admire so much. >> and president ghani has other connections to the bay area. >> i have more family in bay area than in kabul. >> where in the bay area? >> fremont. >> fremont has the largest
population of afghan residents in the country outside of afghanistan. >> president ghani wants to provide educational and job opportunities throughout afghanistan. he admires the lessons taught through the roots of peace partnership and wants to see it expand. >> we have inherited a million unemployed. so, jobs, jobs, jobs -- that's it. anyone who can help create from one to 10 to 100 to 1,000 is a friend of mine [chuckling] and i'll speak for them. >> thank you so much. >> thank you. >> appreciate it very much. >> thank you. delighted, ms. jennings. >> when we come back, we'll take a look at the four-star general in charge of the nato-led mission here in kabul, afghanistan, training afghan security forces. and we'll see why he has a lot of connections to california. [ explosion ] later on, the terrorist attack against a roots of peace building in kabul and a promise from the heart to continue their
>> welcome back to our special report from afghanistan. the general in charge of the nato-led mission to improve security in afghanistan met with a bay area nonprofit working with afghan farmers. i had the privilege of talking with at the base in kabul about roots of peace, about security, and the progress being made by afghan security forces to protect their own country. they are taking the lead now that american troops are withdrawing in significant numbers. >> i would not have said this a couple of years ago probably, but i'm excited about the future of afghanistan. they have a government that is about the people, that really understands a great vision for afghanistan. >> that big vision for afghanistan comes from newly elected president ashraf ghani, who recently met with the california-based nonprofit roots of peace founders and me in the presidential palace.
his main focus -- developing the agricultural economy. security is equally important. general john campbell is leading the new nato transition mission in afghanistan with coalition forces as u.s. troops are leaving. the four-star general in charge of resolute support told me that afghanistan is fighting hard to build an effective security force to protect is own people. >> this last fighting season, summer of '14, were almost all on their own. they had to lead for security, and they're quite proud of that. >> the goal is to continue training, advising, and assisting afghanistan security forces, and when they die, their memories are honored here at the base every week. [ bugle playing "taps" ] >> the people of afghanistan give thanks for your help and support... >> as you saw, we had a member from the afghan army out there, and he thanked the coalition, something you didn't hear a lot with underneath president karzai. but underneath this new national unity government, they've embraced the international
community. >> general campbell understands the importance of improving the economy and has followed the work of roots of peace in afghanistan, working on agricultural development. he met with the founder, heidi kuhn, and president gary kuhn at the base. i first went to afghanistan in 2005 to see a pilot project by roots of peace to remove land mines, raise grapevines off the ground, and put them on trellises. now the roots of peace program has evolved to link farmers and traders with the international export market. >> this program has really helped out afghanistan, and that's really the baseline for afghanistan -- agriculture. >> general campbell's personal roots trace back to the san francisco bay area. >> i grew up as an air force brat. my dad was stationed at hamilton field in novato, california, marin county. and then we moved over to fairfield, just up interstate 80. so, i went to elementary school and a little bit of junior high school in novato, california. >> he wants to come back for a visit, especially to the
napa valley, but his nato mission has a lot to do to help afghanistan move into the future. >> and the people here of afghanistan really deserve this. you know, they want the same things we do, with jobs for their family, roofs over their families, living quarters. they want to be able to have education for their kids. i think with continued support from the coalition, with continued support with people like gary and heidi, that the future for afghanistan is bright. >> the majority of the people are engaged with agriculture. that's where we need to focus to change the life of the majority. >> president ashraf ghani is impressed with the agricultural programs by heidi and gary kuhn. their funding comes from usaid, the u.s. agency for international development. their bay area nonprofit, roots of peace, is helping farmers improve their crops to sell internationally and teaching women to become farmers. >> they work in a building surrounded by security guards armed with machine guns.
when heidi kuhn visits, she wears body armor because she's a target for radicals who don't like westerners or women working outside the home. why do you do this? you don't have to do this. you don't have to be here in this war zone to manage your business. >> mm-hmm. we take our business very seriously, cheryl. i'm so fortunate to have four children. i look into the eyes of my own children and grandchild, and i think how fortunate they are to grow up in california, to live truly in peace. >> some of the women came to the heavily guarded hotel where we were staying. they affectionately call kuhn "heidi mama." they told me they take a risk daily just going to and from work because of attacks by the taliban.
they work mostly with widows. there are an estimated one million afghanistan. many cannot read, have no job skills, and have up to four children to support. the grape trellising project is tough for them, but has the potential for a higher profit, so they power through it to grow high-quality grapes. it will take some time for afghans to be able to lead ordinary lives. until then, these courageous women want to keep working with roots of peace because they're inspired by heidi kuhn and know they are helping their country. coming up later on in our special report from afghanistan, the terrorist attack against a
roots of peace building in kabul. [ siren wails ] you'll hear from a determined roots of peace staff promising to continue its work in spite of the danger. but coming up next, why president ashraf ghani believes agriculture can lead the way to prosperity in his country. that sound. like nails on a chalkboard. but listen to this: (family talking) that's a different kind of sound. the sound of the weekend. unleash the power of dough. give it a pop. it's always worth remembering... that icing the cinnamon rolls is a privilege not a right. unleash the power of dough. give it a pop.
presidential palace in kabul. >> i hope that the american people will engage with us. >> president ashraf ghani met with bay area-based nonprofit roots of peace and me in late january to talk about restoring afghanistan's agriculture to the powerhouse it used to be before decades ofar. it was known as "the garden of central asia." these old pictures from the '50s and '60s show what afghanistan looked like then, with forests, lush land, a stable country with an educated workforce which included women. president ghani believes afghanistan can regain its former glory and be connected to the world. >> we are at the heart of asia. unless we have stability, asia will not be stable. >> afghanistan is surrounded by india, pakistan, china, iran, europe, and the middle east. afghanistan's prized organic produce is now drawing attention from those markets, thanks to
programs funded by usaid and implemented by roots of peace. >> the big goal for us is to make afghanistan one of the perennial exporters for the region. >> president ghani told us he wants afghanistan to be an exporting machine. he believes he san rafael-based charity roots of peace is helping provide the tools to be a game changer for his country. >> i want to thank roots of peace for their initiatives, and i'd be very encouraging of scaling up the effort. >> roots of peace is eager to expand its work with farmers and traders to they can stand on their own. now, thanks to long-term funding from usaid, a major transformation is under way to improve the agricultural economy. the new president told me that it is crucial for the world to help afghanistan create jobs because jobs can be a powerful weapon to fight the drug trade and terrorism. >> the image of a number of small drug runners is not the
image of the majority of the people. the type of threats that have congregated around our neighborhood are threats to the entire system of government. >> in spite of those threats, afghanistan is a country on the move finally, after decades of war. >> that's present-day kabul at night, the fifth fastest-growing city in the world. that's progress, that's success, and that could only happen with a coalition of the security that is provided. >> general john campbell leads the nato mission in afghanistan. he talked with me at the military base in kabul about the important contributions by roots of peace. >> their dedication, their passion, their energy for the afghan people is pretty remarkable. >> roots of peace clearly have shown that they're dedicated to development here, and they have some very impressive results. >> bill hammink is head of the usa mission in afghanistan, the largest in the world. >> they've been funding our programs and supporting our
efforts, been a huge support of us, which is great. it's enabled us to do many good things in this country. >> hammink and his team met with the kuhns in afghanistan to talk about president ghani's goal -- drive the agricultural economy faster, link more farmers and more traders to international markets. >> we've seen a shift now, whereby farmers are actually making money, and there's a growing number of afghan traders that are helping out. >> the roots of peace team producing those impressive results includes experts in science and business. >> we've gone from market demand to identifying the types of product that buyers want and then working backwards and saying, "this is a product that you should be growing, and this is how you should take care of that product." >> proper irrigation is important, tending is important... >> ahmad shaw trains farmers on ways to grow the best grapes and pomegranates. he says it took time to convince the farmers to try new ideas. >> they were fighting with us --
"why you are disturbing our wines?" [ chuckles ] "this is from my mother. this is from my father." >> we have taken farmers to international expositions, international markets, to meet with the buyers in those markets. they needed to understand the big picture. >> we've gone from what are basically wholesale markets to directly selling to supermarket chains. those aspects they would classify as being game-changing. >> millions of dollars of deals are starting to happen, thanks to that partnership with usaid. and now president ghani has jumped in and is already promoting afghanistan's produce. >> without the sons and daughters of farmers believing that they can be president, ministers, entrepreneurs, we will not have a prosperous country. >> and that will take partners, time, and money to make the president's dream come true for afghanistan. >> when we come back, you'll hear the chilling details of a deadly attack in kabul, afghanistan, that affected the
california nonprofit roots of peace. and you'll learn why they will not surrender to terrorism. you see this look on my face? sfx: growling that's not anger, that's hunger. so i'm gonna have a snack to make me feel better and once i do you will see a look of satisfaction and contentment blossom across my face. see, now i feel better. make your tummy happy mmm yoplait
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that's a different kind of sound. the sound of the weekend. unleash the power of dough. give it a pop. >> welcome back to our special report on afghanistan. >> gunfight! gunfight! >> armed security guards showed me just how dangerous it can be for westerners working in afghanistan, even when they're helping the afghan people. [ explosion ] >> oh, my god! >> i'm taking it. i got the film. >> this is cellphone video of a suicide-bombing attack at a building in kabul almost a year ago. [ siren wailing ] taliban insurgents targeted the westerners inside the building, trying to kill them. the charity inside, roots of peace, picked itself up and continues its mission -- helping farmers and traders grow their business. but roots of peace learned life-and-death lessons from that tragic day. >> gunfight! gunfight! >> sadly, two innocent bystanders were killed outside.
roots of peace had been sharing the building with a christian daycare center. that was the taliban's real target. >> i never forget that moment. some of our staff were bleeding. some of our staff were injured. the good thing was that nobody was killed from our office. >> sharif osmani was the roots of peace director in afghanistan at the time, but he faced death threats after he did television interviews about the attack, so he and his family had to evacuate. heidi and gary kuhn, the founders of roots of peace, were home in the bay area and monitored that horrifying gun battle by skype. they had to move their roots of peace staff and office to secret locations in kabul. that attack dramatically changed the level of personal security in kabul for the kuhns. now when they meet their staff, they wear body armor to and from the airport and to some meetings. i'm sitting here in an armored vehicle, with body armor on, with the founder of roots of peace, who also has
body armor on. she cannot ride in the same vehicle as her husband, and our security chief says it's because of continuity. you've got a family. >> we have four children and a grandson. and not only for one of us to be here in the event of some sort of a terrorist attack, but also to protect our business. if one of us went down as c.e.o. and president, the other has to carry on. >> the staff had a stunning moment while searching through the rubble from the suicide bombing. almost everything was destroyed except for a handmade heart of roses on the wall. it was a gift from the staff in kabul. the staff saved that heart and had it delivered to the kuhns, and now it hangs in their home in the bay area as a reminder that roots of peace will not surrender to terrorism. >> most of the walls and the stuff in that room were destroyed, but that heart survived. >> shafi anwary is the new roots of peace director in afghanistan. he says the staff is not intimidated by the attacks.
>> if we look at that from another perspective, that means, like, their hearts are still alive and we can still continue with whatever has happened. >> that attack in 2014 did not stop the kuhns from meeting with afghanistan's new president, ashraf ghani, in late january. it happened at the presidential palace. they talked about increasing the pace of agriculture development. >> without a functioning agricultural system in this country, we cannot have stability. >> roots of peace has been working in afghanistan for more than a decade with funding from usaid. >> a good friend, heidi kuhn -- she has her heart in the right place all over the world. >> dr. mo qayoumi is president of san jose state university and is a trusted advisor and friend of president ghani. >> the wrong perception that we have about afghanistan is -- all we see about is those horrible accidents, but we do not really see the resilience of the people, their whole sense of creativity, and seeing how they
want to be connected to the world. >> that connection begins with a stable economy. >> this sense of creating order, a sense of routine, a sense of predictability, a sense that you can plan your future and get ahead and your life is not going to be cut short is our fundamental goal. and i hope that's so decent and so human that anybody can relate to and support. >> president ghani has a daunting task to overcome the lure of growing poppy crops for opium. the united nations office on drugs and crime report for 2014 says the poppy crop in afghanistan was close to 6,400 tons, up 17% from 2013, worth $85 billion. president ghani is asking farmers to switch to legal, high-value food crops, using the model demonstrated by nonprofits like roots of peace. the nonprofit even put its development plan on the internet
at rootsofpeace.org to make it available to anyone. now afghan entrepreneurs like these are stepping up with their own money, not u.s. tax dollars. that sustainability will slowly help afghanistan's president achieve his dream of a vibrant economy fueled by agriculture. it will be the legacy of a powerful partnership between afghanistan, coalition forces, and nonprofits, like the bay area's roots of peace. >> this is a place where people deeply believe in education and learning and engaging. and they need to get an opportunity. >> thanks for joining us for our special report from kabul, afghanistan. for more information, log on to abc7news.com. we have more information where you live. connect with us at abc7news.com/community, on facebook at abc7 community affairs, and look for me on twitter @cherylabcy.
san jose city owned golf course under scrutiny after a recent report shows they're costing taxpayers millions of dollars a year. >> that report could mean closures or partial closureses 0 two of the city's three golf courses. we spoke with the council member who says it's time to pay off the debt. at least one of the courses is actually doing okay? report report the san jose municipal golf course where i'm